CFA volunteers come home after fighting Mallee fire

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CFA volunteers have returned to Bendigo safe but tired after spending four nights fighting a major bushfire in the Mallee region.

Around 25 volunteers travelled to Yaapeet on Saturday to relieve fatigued volunteers and set up strike force teams.

Kangaroo Flat strike team leader George Pantazis, said volunteers worked between 12 and 15 hour shifts through the night to tackle the blaze.

“I think we made a difference,” he said.

“There were around 25 volunteers, one tank and four slip on units.

“It was sandy conditions which made it difficult; and it was hot and smoky.

“Our sector was contained but there is still a lot of work to be continued there.

“More volunteers are going.”

Mosquito Creek CFA volunteer Andrew Gallagher, who took a few days off to go and will return to work at Bendigo Bank on Wednesday, said the conditions were difficult.

“Last night (Monday) was very hard.

“There was a lot of manual work and a bit of walking as they couldn’t get the trucks in because of the sand.

“The area we worked on is almost blacked out but there are a lot of fires, I don’t think they are under control yet.”

Bendigo CFA volunteer Andrew Polwarth, who has been volunteering for 30 years, said it was "character building".

“It is the right thing to do, to go out and help.

“They come down here when we need them.”

Bendigo CFA volunteer Samual Harrison, said it was difficult adjusting to working at night.

“It is tiring, but it is about giving back to the community."

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